Abuse is harmful and/or cruel treatment of a person. Abuse is an epidemic and is very common all over the world. Whether it is intimate partner violence, child abuse, or adult abuse, they are all too common. There are several types of abuse that someone could be suffering through without even knowing it. Forms of abuse include physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect. But when most people imagine abuse, they think about physical abuse, because it's something they can see. You visualize bruises, 'accidents', and trips to the emergency room. When someone physically abuses you it's obvious, because there’s physical evidence. You may believe that 'they didn't mean it' but you still know that they hit you. When someone mentally abuses you, however, it can be entirely different because emotional wounds are INVISIBLE. That's because a mental abuser can get into your head and convince you that they are right about you, no matter what they might be saying. It's extremely easy to fall into the trap of being mentally abused and not realize what’s happening.
In the end, you don't really consider it abuse because they've convinced you that it's all the truth anyway, or they convince you it didn't happen the way you believe it did. Mental abuse is something that causes trauma, but it is also helpful to know what it is not. When you and your partner (or you and anyone else) raise your voices or have disagreements, it isn't necessarily abusive. Disagreements, even heated ones, can be normal and even healthy growing points in a relationship. Signs of emotional abuse include constant criticism and manipulation, shaming you about your behavior, punishing or threatening to punish, verbally abusing and name calling, blaming their feelings on you, refusing to talk about it, refusing affection and attention, gaslighting, isolating the victim from friends and family.
The effects of abuse, whether this takes the form of emotional, physical or sexual abuse, can be both severe and long-lasting. It's not just a question of the direct trauma inflicted, but of trust betrayed. The short answer and clinical answer are the same: mental, psychological, or emotional abuse is a type of abuse where one person exposes another to some type of behavior that causes psychological trauma. Emotional abuse can create traumas that change the way you think, feel, and behave. It can result in anxiety, depression, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These effects of psychological abuse can outlast the relationship they take place in. Symptoms of abuse include: Withdrawal from activities with peers, isolation, depression, aggressive behavior, absent from school, running away, rebellious behavior, self-harm, and suicide attempts. Many individuals who have suffered abuse as a child or a partner (such as husband or wife), end up with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, and many other emotional issues.
If you think you are in an emotionally abusive relationship you should seek professional help immediately. Getting professional help is important. As a trauma therapist who works with people effected by all forms of abuse, I help you figure out what's going on in your relationship and whether you should get out (or even if you just want to get out) or if it's something that can be worked on.